New Zealand general election, 1963

New Zealand general election, 1963
New Zealand
30 November 1963 (1963-11-30)

All 80 seats in the New Zealand Parliament
41 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 1,196,631 (89.6%)
  First party Second party
Leader Keith Holyoake Arnold Nordmeyer
Party National Labour
Leader since 1957 1963
Leader's seat Pahiatua Island Bay
Last election 46 seats, 47.6% 34 seats, 43.4%
Seats won 45 35
Seat change Decrease 1 Increase 1
Popular vote 563,875 524,066
Percentage 47.1% 43.7%
Swing Decrease 0.5% Increase 0.6%

Prime Minister before election

Keith Holyoake

Elected Prime Minister

Keith Holyoake

The 1963 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of New Zealand Parliament's 34th term. The results were almost identical to those of the previous election, and the governing National Party remained in office.


The 1960 election had been won by the National Party, beginning New Zealand's second period of National government. Keith Holyoake, who had briefly been Prime Minister at the end of the first period, returned to office. The elderly leader of the Labour Party, Walter Nash, had agreed to step down following his government's defeat, but disliked the prospect of being succeeded by his Minister of Finance, Arnold Nordmeyer. Nash instead backed first Clarence (Gerry) Skinner and then, after Skinner's death, Fred Hackett. In the end, however, Nordmeyer was victorious. Nordmeyer, however, was unpopular with the general public, being remembered with hostility for the tax hikes in his so-called 'Black Budget'. Labour struggled to overcome this negative perception of its leader, and was only partially successful.

There had been an unusually large number of by-elections during the term of the 33rd Parliament. None of these had resulted in any upsets, and there was little indication for the population wanting a change. Holyoake started his election campaign on 4 November, not even a month out from the election.[1] Whilst television had just been introduced in New Zealand, the election campaign was a dull affair. And from 23 November, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy was the dominant topic in the media.[1]

The election

The date for the main 1963 elections was 30 November. 1,345,836 people were registered to vote, and turnout was 89.6%. This turnout was around average for the time. The number of seats being contested was 80, a number which had been fixed since 1902.

The following new (or reconstituted) electorates were introduced in 1963: Manurewa, New Lynn, Pakuranga, Porirua, Rangiora, Taupo and Waimarino.[2]


The 1963 election saw the governing National Party retain office by a ten-seat margin. It had previously held office by a twelve-seat margin. National won a total of forty-five seats, while the Labour Party won thirty-five. In the popular vote, National won 47.1% to Labour's 43.7%. The Social Credit Party won 7.9% of the vote, but no seats. Four of their candidates also missed the nomination deadline. One political analyst, Professor Robert Chapman, called it "the no change election".[1][3]

Puti Tipene Watene was elected for Eastern Maori; he was a Mormon and was the first non-Ratana to win a Maori seat since 1938.

Election results
Party Candidates Total votes Percentage Seats won Change
National 80 563,875 47.1 45 -1
Labour 80 524,066 43.7 35 +1
Social Credit 76 95,176 7.9 - ±0
Liberal 23 10,339 0.9 - ±0
Communist 22 3,167 0.3 - ±0
Others 9 1,422 0.1 - ±0
Total 290 1,196,631 80

Votes summary

Popular Vote
Social Credit
Parliament seats

The table below shows the results of the 1963 general election:


 National    Labour    Social Credit  

Electorate results for the New Zealand general election, 1963[4]
Electorate Incumbent Winner Majority Runner up
General electorates
Ashburton Richard Gerard 3,419 G Glassey
Auckland Central Norman Douglas 3,227 W J Steven
Avon John Mathison 5,117 S L Dodwell
Awarua Gordon Grieve 3,373 L N Valentine
Bay of Plenty Percy Allen 3,025 P E Riden
Buller Bill Rowling 1,671 Ernie King
Christchurch Central Robert Macfarlane 1,915 D J Patchett
Clutha Peter Gordon 3,595 Les McKay
Dunedin Central Philip Connolly Brian MacDonell 1,170 G R Thorn[5]
Dunedin North Ethel McMillan 2,524 E Whittleston
Eden John Rae 3,335 F B Knipe
Egmont William Sheat 3,047 J B Seddon
Fendalton Harry Lake 2,740 Bruce Barclay
Franklin Alfred E. Allen 5,848 R Waishing
Gisborne Esme Tombleson 902 Bob MacDonald[6]
Grey Lynn Reginald Keeling Ritchie Macdonald 5,240 R J Presland
Hamilton Lance Adams-Schneider 2,642 J M Cairns
Hastings Duncan MacIntyre 1,944 Edwin Keating
Hauraki Arthur Kinsella 2,873 G L Broad
Hawkes Bay Cyril Harker Richard Harrison 3,518 J G Woolf [7]
Heretaunga Ron Bailey 2,135 R O Kimmins
Hobson Logan Sloane 31 Vernon Cracknell
Hutt Walter Nash 3,648 V E Hampson-Tindale
Invercargill Ralph Hanan 1,934 O J Henderson
Island Bay Arnold Nordmeyer 2,388 F F Curry
Karori Jack Marshall 4,020 Keith Spry
Lyttelton Norman Kirk 2,677 T D Flint
Manawatu Blair Tennent 2,513 L T Fischer
Manukau Leon Götz Colin Moyle 759 H C Pryor
Manurewa New electorate Phil Amos 1,524 Leon Götz
Marlborough Tom Shand 2,111 W G Kenyon
Marsden Donald McKay 3,942 O J Lewis
Miramar Bill Fox 416 Bill Young
Mt Albert Warren Freer 3,018 J L Reid
Napier Jim Edwards 785 D O Haskell
Nelson Stanley Whitehead 2,610 Peter Malone
New Lynn New electorate Rex Mason 3,052 C A McLeod
New Plymouth Ernest Aderman 474 Ron Barclay
North Shore Dean Eyre 2,757 Reginald Keeling
Onehunga Hugh Watt 5,127 J P Mason
Otago Central John George 2,675 Stan Rodger
Otaki Allan McCready 3,014 G N McDonald
Pahiatua Keith Holyoake 5,733 E J Hemmingsen
Pakuranga New electorate Bob Tizard 2,015 R M Neville-White
Palmerston North Bill Brown 772 Philip Skoglund
Petone Michael Moohan 2,448 P M Love
Piako William Goosman Geoffrey Sim 5,526 N R D Shewan
Porirua New electorate Henry May 3,161 J W Miller
Raglan Douglas Carter 1,850 H J Uttinger
Rangiora New electorate Herbert Pickering 1,425 Whetu Tirikatene
Rangitikei Norman Shelton 4,307 R J Wiseman
Remuera Ronald Algie 7,001 F N Goodall
Riccarton Mick Connelly 2,550 I G B Wilson
Rodney Jack Scott 4,320 C M Pickett
Roskill Arthur Faulkner 3,216 T J L Tucker
Rotorua Harry Lapwood 2,217 J P Cranston
Selwyn John McAlpine 3,371 F E Smith
St Albans Bert Walker 2,501 J Palmer
St Kilda William Fraser 2,597 K J Marlow
Stratford Thomas Murray David Thomson 4,590 J McLafferty
Sydenham Mabel Howard 5,399 Derek Quigley
Tamaki Robert Muldoon 3,754 N Finch
Taupo New electorate Rona Stevenson 275 A J Ingram
Tauranga George Walsh 4,545 G W S Hardaker
Timaru Basil Arthur 2,831 M J O'Reilly
Waimarino New electorate Roy Jack 1,785 Olive Smuts-Kennedy
Waipa Hallyburton Johnstone Leslie Munro 3,165 R N Little
Wairarapa Bertie Cooksley Haddon Donald 501 Jack Williams
Waitaki Allan Dick 2,019 K S Lysaght
Waitakere Rex Mason Martyn Finlay 2,895 H A Nash
Waitemata Norman King 2,919 A G E Pugh
Waitomo David Seath 4,655 H C Brown
Wallace Brian Talboys 5,740 J S Reid
Wanganui George Spooner 1,397 J T H Grace
Wellington Central Dan Riddiford 1,508 Frank Kitts
Westland Paddy Blanchfield 4,925 W A Reynolds
Māori electorates
Eastern Maori Puti Tipene Watene 2,566 Arnold Reedy[8]
Northern Maori Matiu Rata 2,123 James Henare
Southern Maori Eruera Tirikatene 4,978 Ben Couch
Western Maori Iriaka Matiu Ratana 5,096 Pei Te Hurinui Jones



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